March 2018 Nintendo Direct is a Smash Hit with Fans

Earlier today, Nintendo streamed a brand-new Nintendo Direct that revealed all sorts of new and renewed games coming to the Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo Switch.

The biggest announcement of all of these is that a new Super Smash Bros. title is coming to the Nintendo Switch in 2018. Is it an enhanced port of the Wii U/Nintendo 3DS game? Is it a full-fledged sequel? We don’t know! All we know is that there are some familiar faces, the addition of the Inklings (not as Mii costumes this time), and that they don’t have an official title for it yet, which would probably help answer at least some of that.

In terms of anything else that is specifically regarding Canada, there isn’t much — it’s all pretty general. Well, except for one thing.

Nintendo has announced the ARMS US & Canada Online Open Tournament. That’s right — we may be shut out of stuff like the Nintendo World Championships (unless you want to travel to one of the handful of U.S. locations to try your luck), but this one is open to a little northern hospitality.

Just don’t expect any time to warm up — this thing is going on right now, and you have until March 18th to participate in ARMS‘ Ranked Match mode and be a contender. The eight top-ranked competitors will then get to take part in the finals, streamed live from Nintendo of America headquarters on March 31st at 10am PT, which you’ll be able to view through this link. The finalists will not only receive bragging rights, but also a custom piece of artwork as well.

If you don’t have your own copy of ARMS, you may also be interested to learn that a new Global Testpunch will run from March 30th to April 1st.

So that’s the big stuff. If you missed the Nintendo Direct, you can catch it right here, and find more details in the press release below.


Nintendo Direct Presentation Highlights Many Upcoming Games for Nintendo Switch and the Nintendo 3DS Family of Systems

VANCOUVER B.C., March 8, 2018 – During its latest Nintendo Direct presentation, Nintendo announced that the Super Smash Bros. franchise is coming to Nintendo Switch this year. The video also showcased more than a dozen upcoming games for both the Nintendo Switch system and the Nintendo 3DS family of systems, with many of the featured games coming from third-party developers, including SQUARE ENIX, Capcom, Grasshopper Manufacture, From Software and Ubisoft.

“Nintendo Switch and Nintendo 3DS are being propelled through 2018 with an energized lineup of games of all kinds,” said Doug Bowser, Nintendo of America’s Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “These games contain a solid mix of first-party franchises starring some of Nintendo’s most recognizable characters, acclaimed third-party titles and promising indies.”

To view the Nintendo Direct video in its entirety, visit Some of the highlights revealed in the video include:

Nintendo Switch

  • Nintendo Switch Super Smash Bros.(working title): The Super Smash Bros. series comes to Nintendo Switch in 2018. The teaser trailer featured recognizable faces like Mario, Link and the Inklings from the Splatoon series.
  • New Single-Player Expansion Coming to Splatoon 2: The first paid DLC is coming to Splatoon 2this summer. Splatoon 2: Octo Expansion adds a hefty new single-player mode that lets players play as new character Agent 8, an Octoling (!) with lost memories. The new single-player campaign features 80 missions, as well as new stories that shed new light on beloved characters. Players that complete the Octo Expansion campaign will unlock the ability to play as Octolings in multiplayer battles. While Splatoon 2: Octo Expansion launches this summer, players can pre-purchase the DLC starting today in Nintendo eShop to immediately receive Octo-themed in-game gear to use in battle right away. (The full version of the game is required to use DLC.)
  • Major Splatoon 2Update: In April, Splatoon 2 is getting a major free update (Version 3.0) that contains 100+ new pieces of gear, more stages rolling out throughout spring (Piranha Pit, Camp Triggerfish and Wahoo World) and a new rank (Rank X). Rank X is an extreme rank, even higher than S+.
  • Mario Tennis Aces: Unleash an arsenal of shots and strategies in all-out tennis battles with friends, family and fan-favourite Mushroom Kingdom characters. With up to four-player local (additional accessories may be required and are sold separately) and online* multiplayer, and a story mode that even includes creative boss battles, Mario Tennis Acesis one of the most robust Mario sports games yet. The intuitive and deep gameplay allows for exciting competitions in the living room or, really, anywhere using the power of Nintendo Switch. In Swing Mode, players can use their Joy-Con controllers like a tennis racket, swinging them to initiate the tennis swings in the game. Mario Tennis Aces launches exclusively for Nintendo Switch on June 22.
  • Mario Tennis AcesPre-launch Online Tournament: More details will be revealed in the future, but a free Mario Tennis Aces demo is coming soon. For a limited time, players can try out online* tournament matches in the game before it launches. To participate, players just have to download the Pre-launch Online Tournament in Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch.
  • Kirby Star Allies: Kirby is coming to Nintendo Switch for the first time next week! As players make their way through the robust adventure, they will reach dream palaces where fan-favourite legacy characters can become Kirby’s Dream Friends. Eventually, more Dream Friends will be added to the game through free updates. The first such update hits March 28 and adds classic characters Marx, Gooey and character set “Rick & Kine & Coo” to the game. Kirby Star Allieslaunches exclusively for Nintendo Switch on March 16. A free demo for the game is currently available in Nintendo eShop.
  • Octopath Traveler: Producer Masashi Takahashi from SQUARE ENIX revealed new details about the upcoming RPG, including the final game name, Octopath Traveler, two more main characters (Tressa the Merchant and Alfyn the Apothecary) and the ability to equip multiple jobs per character for use in battle. Octopath Travelerlaunches exclusively for Nintendo Switch on July 13Octopath Traveler: Wayfarer’s Edition, a special edition bundle that includes a stylized pop-up book, a helpful cloth map, the Octopath Traveler: Sound Selections CD and a replica coin based on the in-game currency, launches the same day.
  • Captain Toad: Treasure TrackerCaptain Toad: Treasure Tracker, which originally launched for Wii U, is coming to Nintendo Switch. The new version includes new miniature courses based on various Kingdoms in the Super Mario Odysseygame. Also, anyone can play with a friend or family member by sharing a pair of Joy-Con controllers. While one player controls Captain Toad, the other can assist with things like turnip cover fire. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker launches for Nintendo Switch on July 13. A Nintendo 3DS version of Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, which includes stereoscopic 3D visuals and touch-screen controls, also launches on July 13.
  • Crash Bandicoot Crashes Nintendo Switch: Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, which includes remastered versions of the first three Crash Bandicootgames, launches for Nintendo Switch on July 10.
  • Okami HD: The gorgeous and ethereal remake of classic action-adventure game Okamiis coming to Nintendo Switch. In the Nintendo Switch version of the game, players can use the touch screen in Handheld Mode or the Joy-Con motion controls in TV or Tabletop Mode to control the Celestial Brush to defeat enemies and solve puzzles. Okami HD launches in Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch this summer.
  • South Park: The Fractured But Whole: The South Park gang is back in an outrageously offensive superhero RPG adventure. And with Nintendo Switch, players can now drop into South Park anytime, anywhere. In addition to the main game, all of the game’s add-on content will be available for purchase. South Park: The Fractured But Wholelaunches for Nintendo Switch on April 24.
  • Sushi Striker: The Way of Sushido: Originally announced for Nintendo 3DS at last year’s E3, Sushi Striker: The Way of Sushidois also coming to Nintendo Switch! The action puzzle game finds players devouring conveyor-belt sushi, matching plates and then throwing them to defeat enemies. The basics are simple, but the gameplay is deep … and tasty! In the game’s multiplayer mode, players can even compete locally or online* against other players in intense matches. Sushi Striker: The Way of Sushido launches for both Nintendo Switch and Nintendo 3DS on June 8.
  • DARK SOULS: REMASTERED: The remake of the genre-defining and beloved original DARK SOULSgame launches for Nintendo Switch on May 25. On the same day, an amiibo figure based on Solaire of Astora will also be released. By tapping this amiibo, the popular “Praise the Sun” gesture can be used with reckless abandon from the start of the game. (The gesture can also be obtained through regular gameplay.) Players who want to take the game for a spin can participate in a “network test.” The free network test launches in Nintendo eShop, and will allow players to download and play a part of DARK SOULS: REMASTERED before it launches to try out the gameplay and unique online features. More details about the network test will be revealed soon.
  • Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes: When Travis Touchdown wanders into the game world, he goes on a rampage of epic proportions. The latest title in the cult classic No More Heroesseries contains a total of seven game titles, including an action game, racing game and puzzle game. By using another Joy-Con controller, two players can team up for co-op multiplayer action. Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes launches exclusively for Nintendo Switch this year.
  • Little Nightmares: Complete Edition:From award-winning developer Tarsier Studios comes Little Nightmares, a charmingly horrific puzzle-platforming adventure. The Complete Edition contains the two haunting tales of Six and The Runaway Kid in one package. You can even tap the PAC-MAN amiibo figure (sold separately) to unlock the Pakku Mask when playing. Little Nightmares: Complete Edition launches on May 18.
  • UNDERTALE: The million-selling role-playing game in which nobody has to die is headed to Nintendo Switch. Launch details will arrive at a later date.
  • Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition: The definitive edition (it’s in the title!) of Hyrule Warriorsbrings together dozens of characters from the Legend of Zelda series in an over-the-top action game. The game launches for Nintendo Switch on May 18.
  • ARMSUS & Canada Online Open Tournament**: Players who want to show off their ARMS skills will be able to enter the ARMS US & Canada Online Open Tournament, which takes place in the Nintendo Switch game’s Ranked Match mode now through March 18. The eight top players in these preliminary rounds will have an opportunity to move on to the online finals on March 31. The finals will be streamed live from Nintendo of America HQ at
  • ARMSTestpunch: A new global Testpunch for the ARMS game, which lets Nintendo Switch owners try out select modes for free, will be running for three days starting on March 31. To participate, players just have to download the Testpunch in Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch.

Nintendo 3DS

  • WarioWare Gold: The frenetic WarioWareseries is back, and for the first time it’s on Nintendo 3DS! With 300 fast-paced microgames that can be controlled by pressing buttons, tilting the system, tapping the touch screen or using the microphone, WarioWare Gold is the biggest entry in the series. And for the first time, the game includes fully voiced characters. WarioWare Gold launches exclusively for the Nintendo 3DS family of systems on Aug. 3.
  • Luigi’s Mansion: The original Luigi’s Mansion, which was a launch game for the Nintendo GameCube system in 2001, is coming to Nintendo 3DS. This remake has an updated look and new features, like a map that displays on the bottom screen and a boss rush mode. Luigi’s Mansionlaunches exclusively for the Nintendo 3DS family of systems this year.
  • Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story + Bowser Jr.’s Journey: In this Nintendo 3DS remake of a classic Mario & Luigiaction RPG adventure, fans can replay (or play for the first time) Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story, one of the most critically acclaimed games in the Mario & Luigi series. It features new graphics and a new mode that tells the behind-the-scenes story of Bowser Jr. Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story + Bowser Jr.’s Journey launches exclusively for the Nintendo 3DS family of systems in 2019.
  • Dillon’s Dead-Heat Breakers: Action meets tower defense in Dillon’s Dead-Heat Breakers. In this new game, players take on the role of armadillo ranger Dillon, who teams up with an animalized version of the player’s Mii character to help stop enemy invasions and save the post-apocalyptic frontier. Dillon’s Dead-Heat Breakerslaunches exclusively for the Nintendo 3DS family of systems in Nintendo eShop on May 24. A free demo for the game will be available to download on May 10.
  • Detective Pikachu: Starting today, this new detective adventure game starring self-proclaimed “great detective” Pikachu is available for pre-purchase on Nintendo eShop and The game, as well as an extra-large Detective Pikachu amiibo figure (sold separately), launches on March 23. (The game is playable in 2D only.)

Remember that Nintendo Switch and the Nintendo 3DS family of systems feature parental controls that let adults manage the content their children can access. For more information about other features, visit or

*Nintendo Account is required. Online services and features, including online gameplay, are free until the paid Nintendo Switch Online Service launches in September 2018.

**NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Open to legal residents of US and CAN; high-speed internet required. Qualifier Period begins 3/8/18 at 5PM PT and ends 3/18/18 at 4:59PM PT. To participate, play at least 50 matches in Ranked Matchduring Qualifier Period (Ranked Match only available after you beat Grand Prix). Based on ARMS in-game ranking system and winning percentages during Qualifier Period, 8 Finalists and 4 Alternates will be selected to be available to participate in Finals to be held 3/31/18. Winner of Finals will get 1 color artwork (ARV $125). Other Finalists and Alternates will get 1 artwork (ARV $50 each). Odds of winning depend on no. of participants. Restrictions apply. Visit and for additional details and full rules. Sponsor: Nintendo of America Inc.

About Nintendo: The worldwide pioneer in the creation of interactive entertainment, Nintendo Co., Ltd., of Kyoto, Japan, manufactures and markets hardware and software for its Nintendo Switch system and the Nintendo 3DS family of portable systems. Since 1983, when it launched the Nintendo Entertainment System, Nintendo has sold more than 4.5 billion video games and more than 710 million hardware units globally, including Nintendo Switch and the Nintendo 3DS family of systems, as well as the Game Boy, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS family of systems, Super NES, Nintendo 64, Nintendo GameCube, Wii and Wii U systems. It has also created industry icons that have become well-known, household names, such as Mario, Donkey Kong, Metroid, Zelda and Pokémon. A wholly owned subsidiary, Nintendo of America Inc., based in Redmond, Wash., serves as headquarters for Nintendo’s operations in the Americas. For more information about Nintendo, please visit the company’s website at

Nintendo of Canada, in conjunction with Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc., have announced a new licensing partnership that will kick off at Build-A-Bear Workshops across the United States, the United Kingdom, and of course, Canada.

“Bringing beloved characters like Mario, Yoshi and Bowser to Build-A-Bear aligns our shared goal of engaging kids and families in fun and new ways,” said Nintendo of America’s Senior Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, Tom Prata. “Now, even the youngest member of the family can interact with Nintendo by creating their own powered-up furry friend.”

Indeed, fans of the Mario series will be able to create their very own 16-inch Mario Bear ($28*) or Yoshi ($25.50*), or a 15-inch Bowser ($35*). They can be further enhanced with sound chips that play the Super Mario Bros. theme song or five distinctly Koopa Kingly sounds from the maw of Bowser himself ($7 each*).

Other options include a pre-stuffed plush of Toad ($10.50*), the option to dress a bear in two-piece Princess Peach or Luigi costumes ($16 each*), or deck them out in a red Super Mario branded hoodie with a picture of Mario and Yoshi on the front ($10*). You can also top them off with a three-piece set of Super Mario wrist accessories that includes a Super Star, Super Mushroom, and Yoshi Egg ($8.50*).

Super Mario is a classic game franchise many of our Guests know and love, and we’ve had a lot of fun bringing these characters into furry friend form,” said Build-A-Bear Workshop chief product officer Jennifer Kretchmar. “Like Build-A-Bear, Nintendo’s characters appeal to everyone, so we couldn’t wait to team up for the first time and offer another way for Guests to enjoy the timeless brand.”

To get a better look at everything that’s available and even order online (Bowser is only available in select stores and online), check out Build-A-Bear’s page here. To find your nearest Build-A-Bear Workshop, click here.

* Build-A-Bear Workshop doesn’t appear to have a dedicated Canadian website, but it did recognize that I’m in Canada, and these are the prices displayed when visiting.

This site is called “Mario’s Hat,” so it’s only natural that I talk a bit about the release of a game which actually stars Mario’s hat, right?


Super Mario Odyssey is now available for the Nintendo Switch, returning the 3D series to its roots by sending Mario on his way to collect numerous Moons throughout various sandbox-level Kingdoms. And of course, joining him on this new adventure is the Bonneter known as Cappy, who takes the form of the plumber (or ex-plumber; who even knows any more?) protagonist’s iconic lid, allowing him to pull off all sorts of cool moves.

Super Mario Odyssey is the must-have video game for this holiday season,” said Reggie Fils-Aime, President and Chief Operating Officer of Nintendo of America. “Video game fans of all kinds will want to dive into this latest Mario adventure as soon as possible.”


Super Mario Odyssey can be yours for a suggested retail price of $79.99, but if you don’t already have a Nintendo Switch, then you may be in luck: A special bundle containing the console, two Mario-red JoyCon controllers, a download code for the game, and a special carrying case can be yours for $499.99. And if that’s not enough for you, three new amiibo figures of Mario, Bowser, and Princess Peach in their wedding attire are now available for $15.99 each, or as a set for $44.99.

You can learn more about Super Mario Odyssey, the aforementioned Nintendo Switch bundle, the related amiibo figures, and even find a download of the song “Jump Up, Super Star” by visiting And if you’d like to check out a review first, I’ll point you in the direction of USgamer, where my wife talks about it at greater length.

David Oxford is a freelance writer of many varied interests. If you’re interested in hiring him, please drop him a line at david.oxford (at)


The Nintendo Switch has been selling hot and fast ever since its early March release, so there’s a possibility you may not have one yet. Whether that’s the case, or you just want to try out the hottest new games on the new on-the-go home console, Nintendo of Canada has just the news for you.


Throughout the summer of 2017, fans across Canada will have the chance to take part in the Nintendo Switch Play Together events featuring 1-2-Switch, Snipperclips – Cut It Out, Together!, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, ARMS, and eventually Splatoon 2, once it’s been released on July 21st. Other activities for visitors include snapping pics at the themed Photo Walls, competing in the Competition Zone for prizes, getting to grab some Nintendo goods (while supplies last, of course), and on Saturdays and Sundays from 12pm to 4pm*, meet Mario or Luigi!

Lucky participants will also score a Nintendo Switch Play Together prize pack, which includes a Nintendo Switch system and one copy each of ARMS, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Splatoon 2. Full contest rules and regulations can be found here.

Here is the full schedule as it currently stands:

Date City Location
June 25 Vancouver, BC Greek Day on Broadway
July 1 Surrey, BC Canada Day Celebrations [Bill Reid Millennium Amphitheatre]
July 1 – 3 Toronto, ON Redpath Waterfront Festival
July 7 – 9 Montreal, QC Montreal Comiccon+
July 7 – 16 Calgary, AB Calgary Stampede+
July 15 – 23 Montreal, QC Mondial des Jeux+
Aug 2 – 6 Lévis, QC Festivent Ville de Lévis+
Aug 11 – 13 Montreal, QC La Ronde+
Aug 18 – Sept 4 Toronto, ON Canadian National Exhibition (CNE)+
Aug 19 – Sept 4 Vancouver, BC Pacific National Exhibition (PNE)+**

*Mario/Luigi schedule subject to change. 12-4pm is approximate timing and does not include breaks.
** Closed August 21 and 28
+Require general ticket purchase to events for access to grounds.

For further information and updates, be sure to check here and also visit

David Oxford is a freelance writer of many varied interests. If you’re interested in hiring him, please drop him a line at david.oxford (at)


Written by Darrel Scott; edited by David Oxford

Many gamers would say that Nintendo has fallen behind Sony and Microsoft when it comes to major console gaming in the past decade or so. While there are legions of hardcore Nintendo loyalists out there, the Wii and Wii U simply weren’t as powerful as the latest Xbox and PlayStation devices. But if there’s one clear advantage that remains with Nintendo, it’s the company’s ability to tap into nostalgia and build on games that people grew up with.

So far, the new Nintendo Switch is looking like an interesting play. Sales for the new console are reportedly off to a phenomenal start, and it seems that the experiment is paying off. Gamers appreciate the idea of a console that essentially doubles as a mobile gaming device, and Nintendo appears to have executed the concept pretty well.

Another reason the Switch seems to be performing well is related to the aforementioned ability to tap into nostalgia. Among the console’s best launch titles, players can find new games for the likes of The Legend of Zelda and Bomberman, two beloved franchises that have been off the shelves for quite some time. These aren’t the only good games you can play on the Switch, but it stands to reason they’re helping to drive sales.

With that said, here are a few more games Nintendo might be wise to explore for the Switch, both from its own past and to get at gamers’ nostalgia in general.


Super Mario RPG

There will be plenty of Mario-related games that come out on the Switch, but Nintendo would still do well to reboot this underrated classic. Those who played Super Mario RPG (on Super Nintendo Entertainment System and Wii Virtual Console) know that it still stands as one of the most entertaining role playing games of all time. In fact, just last year an article emerged expressing that in 20 years, few Nintendo games have lived up to this one. Throw in the fact that an RPG is one of the easier genres or formats to flip seamlessly between mobile and console gaming, and this seems like a no-brainer.


GoldenEye 007

Shooters are tricky on a device like the mobile component of the Switch. This iconic first person shooter was actually rebooted to somewhat mediocre effect for the Wii a few years ago, but a new flagship Nintendo device without a fresh attempt at resurrecting GoldenEye’s glory just seems like a shame! Plus, it could pave the way for a new generation of James Bond games, which have always been fun.


X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse

In a way, it feels like the year of Wolverine (thanks to Hugh Jackman’s final film as the legendary Canadian hero). Still, despite the recent surge in popularity we haven’t seen a major Wolverine game in quite some time. Some of the most recent games starring the fearsome mutant are online slot reels that are more fun than you might think. These casual web games are actually considered to be among the most popular and entertaining around, and frequently adopt characters and series from popular entertainment, with the result that there are currently multiple Wolverine– and X-Men-related games in circulation. X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse was a classic platformer for the SNES back in 1994, and could be a great candidate for an update to the hybrid mobile and home console.


Pokémon Red Version and Pokémon Blue Version

Pokémon is more relevant than ever thanks to the explosive popularity of Pokémon GO, and Nintendo ought to go ahead and capitalize. Brand new versions of the original games, with better graphics and perhaps slightly more complex gameplay, would be a wonderful surprise. These games could work well on both mobile and console modes, and it’s hard to imagine this being anything but a major seller for the Nintendo Switch. It’s hard that there’s never been a proper Pokémon game for consoles (outside of titles like Pokkén Tournament and Pokémon Snap), but there are rumors that Game Freak might be looking to develop a new Pokémon game for the Switch, although it’s still far too early to know any details.


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

The Turtles are also riding a wave of popularity with a younger generation but older fans probably still have fond memories of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles games from the ’90s. These arcade brawlers recall a time when Nintendo dominated the console market and arcades were filled with the sounds of clinking quarters and the smell of stale pizza. While not exclusive to Nintendo, the Switch is perfectly suited to make the most of the iconic arcade gameplay and help acquaint a new audience with the older games starring the heroes in a half shell.

The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Mario’s Hat or any of Nyteworks’ staff.


Nintendo has recently released a new video highlighting some of the new features to be found in its upcoming Nintendo Switch release of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Check it out:

In addition to the full content of the original Wii U release and its two downloadable content packs, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe promises five new racers in Bowser Jr., Dry Bones, King Boo, and the Inkling Boy and Inkling Girl from Splatoon, as well as new karts inspired by the latter. You’ll also now be able to hold two items as once, much like in Mario Kart Double Dash!! for the GameCube, including the return of the item-stealing Boo and the Battle Mode-exclusive Super Feather.

Speaking of Battle Mode, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe goes above and beyond its Wii U incarnation by bringing back some more traditional and classic modes, and more importantly, a combination of eight new and classic arenas fit to compete in (rather than just running along regular tracks as before). Per Nintendo’s press release, these modes include:

  • Renegade Roundup: Making its debut in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, this new mode has one team trying to capture the other and put them into jail before time runs out. The opposing team must try to escape and can break their own teammates out of prison by pressing a button under the jail cell.
  • Balloon Battle: In this oldie but goodie, players earn points by popping balloons on the back of their opponents’ karts.
  • Bob-omb Blast: Originally seen in the Mario Kart: Double Dash!! game, this mode finds players throwing a barrage of Bob-ombs at opponents.
  • Coin Runners: By racing across the Battle course, players try to collect the most coins as possible in this fast and frenetic mode introduced in Mario Kart Wii.
  • Shine Thief: Steal the coveted Shine Sprite and try to hold onto it for a 20 count in this classic multiplayer Battle mode.

The multiplayer modes will be available in local split-screen mode for up to four players when the system is docked, two players in local split-screen when undocked, and up to 12 players for online and local LAN mode, with the latter allowing two players to use the same device in split-screen if needed.

Finally, newcomers and less-experienced drivers can get in on the high-speed fun with a Smart Steering control option which helps keep players on the track — even at 200cc!

The game arrives on April 28th, and will be available at a Suggested Retail Price of $79.99. At the same time, there will also be a new Joy-Con Wheel accessory available for those who enjoy a bit of motion controlled steering; those will come in packs of two for an SRP of $19.99.

If you’re interested in what I thought of the game on the Wii U, you can find my original review here, with the reviews of the two downloadable content packs here and here.

David Oxford is a freelance writer of many varied interests. If you’re interested in hiring him, please drop him a line at david.oxford (at)


While today marks the day that the general public can get their hands on the Nintendo Switch before its March 3rd release, Nintendo of Canada was kind enough to allow the media (and some guests) the opportunity to do so just a couple of days prior.

From start to finish, it was quite the experience, and while there are still questions left unanswered in the month and some change we have left before the product goes on sale, it was nonetheless enlightening in other ways. Following are the impressions of what games I was able to check out at the event. Plus, I got to play the games in a variety of different ways, thanks to the Switch’s various control schemes, so I’ll talk about those as I go, too,

(Plus, if you’re not familiar with some of these titles, most have trailers you can view by clicking on the respective header.)


Sonic Mania

This was my first stop as soon as I went through the doors. It almost felt like some sort of blasphemy to make a beeline straight for a SEGA game as the first title I’d play on Nintendo’s newest system, but my inability to do so in the six months’ worth of events since the game’s announcement was no doubt a major contributor — I’ve already had the special edition on pre-order for months.

Anyway, it was good, and felt just like classic Sonic to me. Maybe there’s a slight difference that someone more dedicated can point out, but compared to all of SEGA’s previous efforts to go back to the Blue Blur’s roots, this unquestionably comes the closest.

Unfortunately, the demo available here was the earlier one, so no Mirage Saloon or Knuckles gameplay to enjoy. Still, it was fun to play through a revamped Green Hill and the new Studiopolis Zone, and try to figure out the new Drop Dash, which is probably the trickiest standard move Sonic’s ever had.


For this title, I was given the right Joy-Con controller, which is an aspect of the Switch I’ve been wary of since it was first teased late last year. My worry stemmed from the fact that the analog stick is set so far in on the controller that I feared it would be uncomfortable to use, thus making it the “loser’s” controller in any battles of who-uses-what when getting ready to play — sort of like the junky third-party controller no one wants to use.

I’m happy to say my fears were completely unfounded! I suppose it owes to the small size of the Joy-Cons in general, but it wasn’t problematic for me at all. I imagine it’s going to vary depending not only on the size of the hands the person using it has, but perhaps also on the game, since I didn’t really need to use any of the shoulder buttons either. Still, for a test run, I found myself quite pleased (and relieved).


Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers

And here we have another old friend. As The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild had a queue (complete with tickets handed out for what time to come back in order to play), I had to find some other way to occupy my time — at least until my plus-ones Ian and Aleah finished their turns on Zelda. So why not see what the World Warriors are up to?

This is pretty much Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix, with two “new characters” added: Evil Ryu and Violent Ken, who are less new characters and more recolors with some added moves (Ken has some sort of teleport, I think?). Much as I’m fine with them stopping there, part of me wants to see “Cranky Dan” step up at some point in the series.

I was at a disadvantage here, as I typically remap my controller in these games to have my Light/Quick moves on the shoulders, but I was still able to hold my own quite well (not that I’m a pro or anything). Basically, it felt just like Street Fighter II should, and you can even change the visuals from the UDON-rendered high-definition graphics to the vintage pixel art.

While it’s a shame that Nintendo isn’t getting something fresher — which can’t be helped in the case of Street Fighter V, what with Sony helping fund that one — I’m nonetheless glad to see this one arrive back in the family of consoles which helped make it big. I got the Xbox 360 version years ago, but found it nigh-unplayable due to that controller’s Dpad.

Speaking of which…


While I’m pretty sure that you can technically play the game with the Joy-Cons, that’s not likely going to cut it for any serious player of the genre. Fortunately, for this one, they had the Switch Pro Controller on hand.

Let me tell you, using this controller was an absolute joy, and makes me all the more disappointed they weren’t available for pre-order when I went to put money down on the system. While it shares the name and general shape of the Wii U Pro controller, I’ll be honest: Try as I might, I could never quite get completely comfortable with that one. Something about it was just a bit off to me, particularly when it came to games better played with the Dpad.

This, however, was a joy to hold and worked flawlessly — at least, for all intents and purposes of playing Street Fighter. The Xbox One controller has been my favorite for this generation, but the Switch Pro Controller felt just as good to me — maybe even a little better (I may have to conduct a more direct comparison sometime).

Let’s just hope these aren’t as hard to come by as the controllers for the NES Classic Edition — I still haven’t been able to find one (in fact, one store told me that while they got more of the systems in since launch, they never got any more of the controllers — damn).


Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

After regrouping with Ian and Aleah, we decided to get in (the much shorter than Zelda‘s) line for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Four stations were set up, each featuring a different game mode and a different way to play the Switch. The combination of a need for multiplayer, a new Battle Mode to check out, none of us having played the Switch in “handheld” mode yet, and a diner scenario that was right up my alley all came together perfectly in one quadrant.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe takes the best game in the series in quite some time and adds even more characters (though unfortunately, still no return of R.O.B. from Mario Kart DS), more items (the return of the Super Feather!), Double Dash!!‘s ability to carry two items at once, and best of all, the return of the traditional Battle Mode with new and returning arenas!

There were four of us playing (someone else joining the three of us), and while I’m not sure which stage they picked, I lucked out in the roulette and we played a remake of one of the courses from Super Mario Kart, aka “the best Battle Mode in the series” in my opinion. Realistic looking balloons were strapped to our karts and we raced around, trying to destroy each other and eight computer-controlled competitors. I came in second place, beaten out only by Aleah.

It felt like coming home… albeit a bit more crowded. I hope that there’s a way to play in smaller groups with just your friends and no computers.


The way we played, as mentioned, was in the Switch’s handheld mode — no dock connecting it to a television, and the Joy-Cons fastened to the side.

To be honest, this probably ended up my least favorite way to play. The combined Switch just didn’t feel as good in my hands as the larger Wii U GamePad, probably hewing a little closer to the XL versions of the Nintendo 3DS, only not. It’s kind of hard to explain, but I think supporting the weight of the full unit and the small size of the Joy-Cons just didn’t rest comfortably in my hands; I think the lower corners were mildly digging into my palms, and I don’t have particularly large hands.

I don’t know that it will be particularly detrimental for me in the long run, though; I have a tendency to rest a Nintendo 3DS against my chest when I play (usually when sitting back or laying down), a luxury I didn’t really have here. I have a feeling it will feel just right for me then, but until I can try it like that, it remains a mystery — though one that will be solved in about 36 days.

That said, the ability to play as it sits separate from the Joy-Cons on its little kickstand should help as well.


The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

The time on my ticket arrived, and I finally got to play The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for the first time. I didn’t get to make it out to the Electronic Entertainment Expo last year, and while Nintendo of Canada normally brings some of that fun up here for us to try out, that didn’t happen last year.

In the interim, Breath of the Wild has been occupying this weird sort of space in my mind, a limbo where I didn’t really associate it as a Wii U title (what with all the buzz that it would be available on the then-titled NX), but without knowing what the NX was until recently, not forming a strong association there, either. It’s just been an island unto itself in my mind.

That said, playing it here has certainly helped it take root in my mind as a Switch title. I only got to play for 20 minutes, and while they encouraged us to speed through the story bits, they still managed to take up a chunk of time nonetheless. Still, I did alright, I think, by raising some towers from one destination before things reset.

Exploring the world reminded me a bit of Xenoblade Chronicles X, which I largely enjoyed despite the combat not quite fully clicking with me. Fortunately, that’s not an issue here, as the more familiar Zelda-styled controls brought everything together. I feel like this might just be the Zelda game that I’ve been waiting so many years for, but only time will tell if that’s the case for sure.

Still, if they’re using the original Nintendo Entertainment System classic as a source of inspiration? I think I’m going to be in for a really good time.


For this title, I got to use the Joy-Con grip to start. I think it’s a little lighter than the Pro Controller, and it felt just as good. Of course, I wasn’t using the Dpad except to help toggle a few menus, if I remember right, so it’s a very different scenario. I was quite pleased, and if you can’t find a Pro Controller right away, there’s no need to immediately panic, as the games that it’s best for aren’t slated to be available at launch anyway. But that aside, they feel quite similar.


Midway through the demo, I was allowed to snap the Joy-Cons into the Switch and go to handheld mode, which I was willing to give a second chance… except they had us wearing headphones to hear the sound, and however they were hooked up, it wasn’t coming through in handheld mode. Couple that with the distraction of an enthusiastic MC up on stage, and I returned to the television.

However, in doing so, I opted to keep the Joy-Cons unplugged and go at it Wii-style, like in Twilight Princess. It felt pretty good — better, even, given the greater number of buttons to take advantage of and no cord to worry about, allowing for a more relaxed posture with the separate halves. Even so, I can see why some people might still prefer to use the Joy-Con grip to play, but it’s still a nice option to have available.


Splatoon 2

Ah, Splatoon… now that’s a name I’ve not heard in a long time.

Okay, that’s a total lie: I’ve heard it quite a bit since its release, especially with Aleah’s affinity for it, but I’ve unfortunately not had much time to play since then. As rusty as I was, in the two rounds I got to play, I opted for familiar weapons I did okay with before: The Splat Roller in the first round, and the Splat Charger in the second. The Roller also had a new secondary weapon, a sort of curling puck that spreads ink and bounces around off of walls and such, but drains your reserves pretty quickly.

A new weapon featured was a twin pair of pistols, which I understand are for more “aggressive” play. Part of me wonders if I should have tried those out. Either way, I got one loss and one win, but sadly, I think I was the lowest score for both rounds. At least I took a few of the other guys with me.

Tilt controls for high and low aiming return, which I found fairly handy — while I was resistant at first, I’m probably better with those than twin-sticks. Unfortunately, there is no more second screen, and while you can still pull up and map and leap to different points on the map, doing so now leaves you vulnerable, so best to be quick about it.

Incidentally, I forget which controller I used here — I think it was either the Pro or the Joy-Con Grip, so either way, see above. It worked well here.



Now how could a coupla former NC boys resist a game that has you milking cows and slapping leather in a quick-draw contest? Ian and I waited in line to try 1-2-Switch, and were joined by a third gentleman in the closed-off booth for the demonstration. Ian had a little trouble with the foam cowboy hats, but fortunately for me, I brought my own.

The first round had us both squeezing two of the buttons on the shoulders of a single Joy-Con as we made steady pulling motions downwards to milk a cow. When the controller stopped vibrating, we’d release the buttons, raise it up, and repeat the process until one of us had squeezed out more milk — all while staring the other in the eye, as per the spirit of the game, if not the rules.


For the second contest, Ian tagged out to the other gent, and we had to move our respective Joy-Con like a box with balls inside, trying to guess how many are in there. I was the victor, albeit with one off, though that was my fault — I felt the extra sensation of the ball hitting the side, but the delay made me think it might be something else.

That said, this and the milking game made me a believer in the high-definition rumble Nintendo spoke of when they went over the Switch’s features. I don’t know if many developers would use it to its fullest potential, but I was nonetheless impressed by how vividly and — for lack of a better term — accurate (I’ve never actually milked a cow; never even touched an udder) things felt. As rumble goes, it’s basically like the difference between digital controls and analog.


Finally, the time came for Ian and I to kill each other by seeing who could draw their gun — i.e. the Joy-Con — the quickest and firing when the command was given.

First time out, I lost, though I maintain it’s because the wrist strap covering wasn’t properly secured. I wanted another go, and got one as Ian tagged out. While I feel that the reason I believe I lost before was validated by taking the other guy out in less than a second (he shot the ground, apparently; the game even measures the angle at which you fire), I still hope for a rematch with Mad Dog Flynn.



Next up, Ian and I checked out the ARMS arena. We got to choose our characters (I went with the girl in power armor seen above), we chose how to equip each arm (one option I went with was a boomerang fist), took in a quick tutorial, and we were off!

While there are some obvious comparisons to be drawn to the likes of Punch-Out!! or Wii Sports Boxing, this is a very different game. For one thing, I don’t know that dashing, jumping, and grabbing have any place in Little Mac’s world (then again, some of those other challengers do play dirty), and the motion controls feel overall more precise than in Wii Sports‘ offering.

The game was a lot of fun, and the overall aesthetic reminds me a bit of Splatoon in some ways, not the least of which being the bright colors and characters. There’s a lot more movement involved than in Punch-Out!! — you basically have the run of the entire arena — and it just feels involved in an altogether different way, as the types of moves you perform with the two Joy-Con feel more varied.


Snipperclips – Cut it out, together!

When I first heard about this game, my interest was minimal, and so was Ian’s. As it happens, though, I caught what the game was all about on Nintendo’s Treehouse at the Switch unveiling earlier this month, and I just had to try it. After a bit of persuasion, he joined me at a table where the Switch was resting on its kickstand as we each took a Joy-Con and got ourselves situated.

Basically, you’re provided with a series of challenges and have to use teamwork in order to solve each puzzle. This ranges from filling in a dotted line silhouette to getting a pencil to a pencil sharpener, putting a basketball through a hoop, moving a wheel along a rail to a race car, and popping all the balloons in the room. To do this, you need to twist your characters the right way and work together to achieve your goal.

For instance, the characters’ bodies don’t have arms and are relatively flat, so to be able to hold the basketball, one character can snip away at part of the other to form a cup-like curve that can better hold the ball. With the balloons, one trims the other’s body until there’s a point capable of bursting them, and so on.

We solved the five or so puzzles put before us, and while I’m still a believer, I think Ian might be, too. It’s a game I look forward to seeing more of, for sure.


Also worth noting is that this time, I got to take up the left Joy-Con, and to my surprise… I think I prefer the right one more! It wasn’t bad or anything, but before using any of them, I thought this would be vastly preferable to using the right one, and to me, it’s not.


Super Bomberman R

Another game Ian and I tried was Super Bomberman R, the long-awaited return of a classic franchise, provided that the guys running it down don’t muck it up with microtransactions as so many across the internet currently fear.

Unfortunately, neither of us have much in the way of experience with Bomberman, and we were put into a four-player battle against two computer opponents. We were pretty soundly throttled, which led to us having to sit on the sidelines, throwing bombs at the computer until someone lost or we successfully blew up one of them, which allowed us back in (but only briefly, because we both suck at this).

The stage didn’t help matters, either, as there were these covered areas that you can’t see into very well. Probably great for veteran Bomberfans to plot strategies with, but not so much for newcomers, perhaps. On top of all that, I think they went around six to eight rounds before things were done.

It’s good to see Bomberman back, but I feel like I need some training — maybe in single-player — before taking that on again.


Puyo Puyo Tetris

I’ve never been much of a Puyo Puyo player, but I’ve always enjoyed Tetris. Fortunately, for this game, you don’t have to be a fan of both to have a good time! I can’t speak for Puyo Puyo, but if it’s like the Tetris portion, then it’s just like what you’ve always known (well, sort of — Tetris has the modern rules in place, of course, such as quick-drop and holding pieces).

The most fascinating part of what I got to play, however, was that two players going head-to-head can play different games. So while I was playing Tetris, my opponent was playing Puyo Puyo — no switching around (ha) or anything. But if one of us scored well, such as my getting a double, triple, or Tetris, then extra blocks would rise from the bottom of his playing field, and vice-versa.

It’s a neat way of bringing the two different games together, and should make for some interesting challenges.

And that was the last game I got to try (though I did take one more run at Sonic Mania before leaving). While there are still questions to be answered about Nintendo’s latest platform, I can at least say that I now sit here before you with confidence in what we have seen.

Finally, to close out, here are some pics from the event:

mariokartdinerClockwise from left: Ian, Aleah, David, and fellow visitor play Mario Kart 8 Deluxe‘s Battle Mode on the Switch’s handheld configuration.

mariokart8deluxe1 mariokart8deluxe2 mariokart8deluxe3Ian rides in Mario’s kart. David rides in Mario’s kart. David runs over Ian in Mario’s kart.
There’s probably a moral here. Somewhere.
(First pic courtesy of Aleah Baker)

snipperclipstableClippersnipping intensifies. (Picture courtesy of Ian Flynn)

splatoon2statueAleah is just squidding around with an old friend. (Picture courtesy of Aleah Baker)

switchzeldaarea1switchzeldaarea2Where Legends become real and the wild breathes.

switchatswitcheventThe star of the show!

switchmarioodysseyAnd finally, the moment you’ve all been waiting for: Mario’s Hat wearing Mario’s hat!

You can find more pictures from the event at Nintendo of Canada’s Facebook page (and they’ll probably have more from the public event later today soon as well).

Also, if you’re interested in the impressions Mr. Ian Flynn was left with after some time with the console, keep an eye on for the games, and the BumbleKast for his thoughts on the hardware itself. (And anything he says about not swapping insurance info after the kart incident is a lie; he just needs to learn how to take better care of Bob-ombs is all.)

David Oxford is a freelance writer of many varied interests. If you’re interested in hiring him, please drop him a line at david.oxford (at)


While the Nintendo Switch is only a little over a month away from its release (don’t forget that if you’re in Toronto, you can play it early this weekend), Nintendo isn’t letting up on their Nintendo 3DS support any time soon.

New3DSXL_Pikachu_boxFor starters, there’s a new variant of the New Nintendo 3DS XL coming out on February 24th. Known as the “Pikachu Yellow Edition New Nintendo 3DS XL,” this lemony-hued device sports a picture of the popular Pokémon Pikachu across its lid, and will be available for #239.99. So if you’re in need of a Nintendo 3DS, this one’s sure to be a hit.

Whether you’ve got a Nintendo 3DS or are in the market for one, there are still plenty of new titles coming down the pipe from Nintendo themselves. Poochy & Yoshi’s Woolly World brings what is quite possibly the best game in the Yoshi series since the original Yoshi’s Island from the Wii U to the 3D handheld, and offers a variety of new features to boot. Playable Poochy, a Craft Yoshi Editor, and even some stop-motion animated videos are there to make this package all the more enticing for those who played the original and holdouts alike. An adorable new Yarn Poochy figure will also be available at launch, and if you’re still not convinced, there’s a demo in the Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS right now.

Other releases include the Nintendo eShop-exclusive Tank Troopers on February 16th, Mario Sports Superstars and an accompanying series of amiibo cards (with one included with the game for a limited time) on March 24th, and the tentatively-titled Pikmin for Nintendo 3DS sometime later this year.

More immediately, Nintendo of Canada has also announced that two new best-sellers are joining the $29.99 Nintendo Selects lineup: The fantastic Kirby Triple Deluxe and Mario & Luigi: Dream Team.

All this, and they didn’t even mention the new Fire Emblem announced last week. So while the Wii U has pretty much all but breathed its last, at least there will still be a bit more first-party love for Nintendo 3DS owners to look forward to throughout 2017.

David Oxford is a freelance writer of many varied interests. If you’re interested in hiring him, please drop him a line at david.oxford (at)


Update: Added Dead Rising 4 and LEGO Dimensions expansion packs.

With apologies to Maffew, as well as everyone else for not getting this up a little sooner as I’d have liked.

Following is a quick list of titles and things good for grabbing as gifts for the gamer in your life this holiday season. Mind, these come as my own personal recommendations, and don’t account for everything, including some “obvious” picks (such as Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Final Fantasy XV, and Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon). Everything here has been released in some form or fashion since Christmas 2015.

Xbox One

killerinstinctdefeditionXbox One S – Your mileage may vary on this one; if you or the intended recipient don’t own an Xbox One already, then this is the way to go. If you/they are planning on getting a 4K TV in the next year, however, then you might want to wait for Microsoft’s Project Scorpio — or at least more details about it — to emerge.

Killer Instinct: Definitive Edition Originally introduced in 2013, the revival of Killer Instinct has finally reached completion after three “seasons” of releases. While I only reviewed the first season, much more content has been made available since then, including new guest stars from Halo, Gears of War, and Battletoads! What’s more, you can now get everything in one complete package at retail with the Definitive Edition, which also includes a soundtrack CD and code for a gold Gargos skin. Now that’s what I call an Ultra Combo! (Also available on Windows 10 via Play Anywhere with Xbox One)

Forza Horizon 3 This open-world driving game is great for relaxing, but also provides plenty of excitement as you partake in various races, challenges, and even hunts for classic vehicles. Sync up your own custom soundtrack (or use one of the stations in the game) and hit the road — as well as the plains, beaches, and anywhere else you can think to drive! (Also available on Windows 10 via Play Anywhere with Xbox One)

oriblindforestdefeditionboxOri and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition (Review Pending) – Alongside Killer Instinct, this was one of the games which made me want an Xbox One in the first place, and I haven’t been disappointed. This Metroidvania-styled platformer has a beautifully eerie presence a surprising degree of emotion as well. I was saving this to say in my already long-overdue review, but to me, Ori feels like the perfect mascot for the Xbox One, and deserves to be adopted as one. Plus, for the price, how can you afford not to try it? (Also available for Windows via Steam)

ReCore (Review Pending) – From some of the creative minds who brought you Mega Man and Metroid Prime comes this mysterious tale from another world. As Joule Adams, you’re tasked with exploring the planet of Far Eden and finding out what happened to those who were supposed to colonize it for mankind’s survival. But while you seem to be the only human around, you’re not alone — a group of Corebots use the special abilities granted by their customizable frames (such as the “dog,” Mack) to assist you throughout this third-person adventure that feels in some ways like a mix of Mega Man Legends and Metroid Prime, coupled with its own unique elements as well. (Also available on Windows 10 via Play Anywhere with Xbox One)

Quantum Break (Review Pending) – Yeah, I know — I’m juggling a lot of balls in the air here (and yes, it’s driving me nuts). This is an extremely story-oriented third-person shooter with some interesting characters and some content that’s set up like an actual television serial interspersed with the game’s chapters. If you’re cool with a game you watch as or more often than you play, then this one’s definitely worth a look. (Also available on Windows 10)

Xbox Design Lab – The Xbox One Wireless Controller is one of my favorite controllers to come around in some time, with a comfortable feel and a Dpad that’s not only finally worth a damn, but pretty dang good in its own right! So what could make it better? How about your own choice of color scheme, and maybe a laser-engraved message as well? This holiday season, you can give a custom Xbox Design Lab controller as a gift by purchasing a code which the recipient can then redeem to make the controller of their dreams (and 14-day shipping is free!).

Dead Rising 4 – This late arrival to stores and this list alike is a must-own this holiday season for its Yuletide setting alone, but for fans of beat ’em up-styled gameplay, the latest adventure of Frank West really hits home.

Wii U

papermariocolorsplashboxPaper Mario: Color Splash After Paper Mario: Sticker Star, I thought that the magic of the series I loved might never return. Imagine my surprise when Nintendo took such great strides towards a return to form just one installment later! While still not quite on the level of the masterpiece that is Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door, this lite-RPG adventure is a great choice for all ages.

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD Nintendo’s next console, the Switch, isn’t destined to join us until March of next year, and the Zelda title designed to bridge it and the Wii U, Breath of the Wild, may take even longer still. In the meantime, they’ve updated the game which bridged the GameCube and the Wii with improved visuals and other features, including amiibo support! Get the game with the Wolf Link w/Midna amiibo, and you can begin prepping it to join you in the next Zelda adventure, whenever it may come!

Nintendo 3DS

kirbyplanetrobobotboxKirby: Planet Robobot Simply put, this is a must-have for any Nintendo 3DS owner. To say anything more would simply diminish it; if you or someone you know hasn’t played it, then rectify that immediately (or at least come the holidays).

Azure Striker Gunvolt: Striker Pack This spiritual successor to games such as Mega Man Zero really brings the thunder — or the lightning, at least! And with the recent release of Azure Striker Gunvolt 2 in the Nintendo eShop, you can now get both chapters together on a single game card at retail!

Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam It’s a crossover no one knew they wanted — or was even possible! Establishing the Paper Mario series as a separate entity (well, even more so), Nintendo’s two long-running Mario role playing game series collide as denizens of the Paper world are released into the regular Mario world, and chaos ensues! This one is definitely a “cut” above!

Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice While the original Sonic Boom games did little to endear the world to this iteration of the franchise, Fire & Ice is a much better second go. With humorous writing and voice acting that’s in keeping with the Sonic Boom cartoon and the addition of Amy Rose to the playable character roster, Fire & Ice doesn’t excel, but it is comfort gaming at its finest.

Project X Zone 2 Let’s get crazy! This turn-based strategy game brings together characters from several of SEGA, Capcom, Bandai Namco, and Nintendo’s top titles for a fan service smorgasbord! Even if you don’t know all the characters involved (and the odds are pretty good that you won’t know everyone), don’t worry — you’ll probably find yourself wanting to check out some new games by the end of it. Heck, I never had any interest in SEGA’s Yakuza before, but now I can’t wait for Yakuza 0 to arrive on PlayStation 4 early next year!

PlayStation 4

dragonquestbuildersboxPlayStation 4 Pro – Speaking of PlayStation 4, if you’re interested in 4K gaming or virtual reality with PlayStation VR, then this is the model to look into. Just know that while it can stream 4K video, it won’t play Ultra HD Blu-ray discs.

Dragon Quest Builders Part of Minecraft‘s strength is its go anywhere, do anything you want freedom. However, if you’re interested in a game which captures the building and resource mechanics while providing you with a bit more of a purpose, then this alternate timeline sequel to the original Dragon Quest ought to be right up your alley.

Ratchet & Clank This latest release in the long-running PlayStation-exclusive franchise combines what made the original game great with a bit of added flair from the motion picture release, turns it on its head, sprinkles in some elements from other installments, and provides an experience great for longtime fans of the series and newcomers alike. And given that the film (which is based on the original game, with this being based on that) didn’t quite set hearts aflutter while the game was a number-one bestseller, it’s probably safe to say that if you have to choose between the two, going with the game is probably the best choice.


deusexmankindboxartDeus Ex: Mankind Divided (Review Pending) – The Canadian Video Game Awards 2016 winner for Best Console Game, Best Game Design, Best Narrative, Best Performance, and oh yeah, Game of the Year. As Adam Jensen, you’re a cybernetically-enhanced human (though you didn’t ask for this) who is putting his myriad tools to good use as you make the decisions you think will best see you through to victory. Lethal or non-lethal weapons? Employ stealth, or go in guns blazing? These choices and many more are yours.

Rise of the Tomb Raider 20 Year Celebration (Review Pending) – For as iconic a figure as Lara Croft has been for the industry over the years, this installment follows in the footsteps of its predecessor by being decidedly not for children — or the faint of heart. It’s definitely an intense game that will keep you on the edge of your seat, and some parts can be pretty gruesome as well. That said, the original version came to Xbox One last year, but 20 Year Celebration throws in all the extra content that has been released since then, including some additional skins (such as a Retro Lara for a nostalgic kick), a co-op mode, and an Extreme Difficulty mode. On PlayStation 4, it’s also one of the first games to take advantage of the HDR features and 4K resolution provided by the Pro version, as well as a chapter playable in PlayStation VR.

WWE 2K17 The latest installment in 2K Games’ long-running sports entertainment adaptation is opting for a little more of a sim flavor this year. Create your own Superstars and events, alter others, and have the full run of Raw, Smackdown, and the rest of the shows WWE brings to a worldwide audience every week.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan On the half-shell, they’re the heroes four; in this day and age, who could ask for more? This IDW Comics-styled game is all about teamwork, whether you’re working with friends or strangers in online multiplayer, or managing all four green teens yourself.

skylandersimaginatorsboxSkylanders Imaginators Continuing the ever-growing theme of player-created content, this year’s Skylanders title allows you to create your very own Skylander called an Imaginator. They come in all different types, and become more powerful when one of the new Senseis shows them their moves. Plus, if you get the PlayStation 4 version (though it should come to the others next year), you can also get Skylanders of Spyro’s old pal, Crash Bandicoot and his rival Dr. Neo Cortex.

LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens “Chewie… we’re home.” These words from Han Solo reflect the feeling of this LEGO title as the series gets back to its roots, but with some new tricks as well. And it just feels so right.

Mega Man Legacy Collection Released as a digital download for Steam, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 late last year, this collection of the Blue Bomber’s six Nintendo Entertainment System adventures (and all the gobs of additional related content included) not only arrived on the Nintendo 3DS earlier this year, but at retail for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 as well. Plus, if you go for the physical Nintendo 3DS version, you can also add an exclusive gold Mega Man amiibo figure to your collection!

Mighty No. 9 This spiritual successor to Mega Man comes with a pretty severe caveat, as the game has been very divisive: If you or someone you know wants a challenge, then this one may deliver. That said, it’s best to look around and see if you can find a good bargain on it to keep your bets safe. Think of this one as “stocking stuffer” material, or consider trying the free demo first. Oh, and be careful about getting the Wii U version — that one apparently suffered from some pretty nasty hardware crashing issues, and I’m not sure if they ever got all those fixed.

LEGO Dimensions Sonic the Hedgehog Level Pack – The toys alone are cool enough, but getting to use them in a game which does a pretty good job of marrying the LEGO and Sonic styles of gameplay is even better.

LEGO Dimensions Gremlins Team Pack – Based on one of my favorite holiday movies, exploring the town of Kingston Falls during the snowy holiday season makes this a perfect holiday gift for anyone who owns (or will soon own) LEGO Dimensions.


supermarioadventuresSuper Mario Run Though this game is available now, you won’t be able to buy it in stores. However, as it commands a $13.99 price tag, an iTunes gift card or two for the intended recipient may not be the worst idea. Just remember that it launches as an iOS exclusive, while the Android version comes sometime later.

Super Mario Adventures This recently republished collection of the comic which originally ran in Nintendo Power magazine 25 years ago is, for many, one of the definitive pieces of Mario fiction (outside of the games, that is). A loose adaptation of Super Mario World, this also includes an additional chapter which loosely adapts Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins and gives us the origin of Wario. Sadly, the 14th and final installment was not included; thankfully, it was a standalone story, so the rest of the book holds up quite well on its own otherwise.

NES Classic Edition and NES Controllers – Good luck finding either of these! Even if you’re not interested in this plug ‘n play collection of 30 classic games for yourself, you’re almost guaranteed to know someone who is, so if you see one in the wild — grab it! And if you happen to come across the even rarer controller, a replica of the original NES input device, consider that it also works with some games (pretty much anything a sideways Wii Remote would) on the Wii and Wii U!

David Oxford is a freelance writer of many varied interests. If you’re interested in hiring him, please drop him a line at david.oxford (at)


After previously announcing their second major in-house developed mobile title, Super Mario Run, back on September 7th, Nintendo of Canada has finally come forth with further details about precisely when iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch owners will be able to purchase the game, and for how much.

Tentatively announced for December 2016, a more specific release date of December 15th has been nailed down. The game will be free to download, allowing players to try out each of the game’s three modes, but to access everything in full (including the game’s six worlds, 1-1 to 6-4), there is a price. For fans Stateside (or who might just happen to have a U.S. iTunes account), the cost will be $9.99, but for those of us north of the border here in Canada, the price will be $13.99.

“The wait is almost over for a Super Mario game that can be played on mobile devices,” said Nintendo of America’s Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Doug Bowser, in a press release. “Developed under the direction of Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto, Super Mario Run brings a new take on the series’ beloved action-platforming gameplay to iPhone and iPad for the first time.”

Nintendo has also released a new trailer today which demonstrates the gameplay and modes contained within:

iOS users will need to have version 8.0 or later to play the game, which is being released in 151 countries around the world with language options for English, Japanese, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Dutch, Russian and traditional Chinese.

More information about the game can be found on the official website, where you can also pre-register for the game’s release notification. Unfortunately, while Nintendo has said that the game will be coming to Android, it won’t be in 2016, and no further information on that version’s release has been given as of this writing.

David Oxford is a freelance writer of many varied interests. If you’re interested in hiring him, please drop him a line at david.oxford (at)


Update: I mistakenly posted that it was the New Nintendo 3DS XL which received the price drop, but it’s actually the regular New Nintendo 3DS which will receive the drop and new deco. Adjustments to the article have been made accordingly.

Nintendo of Canada has announced today that on Black Friday, for the first time ever, the New Nintendo 3DS will be available for a suggested retail price of $139.99. The November 25th price drop will also be accompanied by a one-two punch of lovely new designs featuring a varied cast of characters from the Mushroom Kingdom — including the brothers Mario, of course.

On your left below, you can see the design as applied to the white version, while the left shows what box to look for with a peek of the black version.

“Nintendo has some of the best gifts for the holiday season,” explained Nintendo of Canada’s General Manager and Senior Director, Pierre-Paul Trepanier, in a press release. “Whether you’re looking for games for the whole family, or a cool new system at a great value, Nintendo has you covered.”

Though the Nintendo Switch is still several months away, it’s difficult at this point to say what — if any — aspects of the New Nintendo 3DS will be made redundant by the new machine. So whether you want to wait and see how that development pans out, or you just want what will undoubtedly be the lower-cost alternative, this is a good opportunity to check out the New Nintendo 3DS if you haven’t already.

You can check out my review of the XL version of the device here, but it probably goes without saying that if you’re in the market for something in the Nintendo 3DS family, this is the one to get (unless you’d prefer a larger size, of course). In addition to a built-in NFC scanner for amiibo figures, the “New” model is also the only one that can play some games, such as Xenoblade Chronicles 3D and Super Nintendo Entertainment System Virtual Console titles, or just plays them better (Hyrule Warriors Legends).

Nintendo is also pushing a selection of games this holiday, ranging from the new and upcoming releases of Mario Party Star Rush, Yo-Kai Watch 2: Bony Spirits and Yo-Kai Watch 2: Fleshy Souls (all available now), Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon (available November 18th), Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS (available December 2nd), and classics such as Animal Crossing: New Leaf (which just received a big update), Mario Kart 7, Super Mario 3D Land, or The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. With 2017 on the horizon, there will still be more to come in the form of a new Pikmin game, Ever Oasis, and Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King.

Even on the chance that the Nintendo Switch does supplant the Nintendo 3DS as the portable of choice sometime next year, it’s hard to argue against the handheld’s legacy as being something worth owning.

David Oxford is a freelance writer of many varied interests. If you’re interested in hiring him, please drop him a line at david.oxford (at)


Nintendo of Canada has announced that buyers interested in purchasing a Nintendo 2DS might find a slight change to their desired product come this November.

Whereas the more durable, kid-friendly handheld had previously sported a black front on either a red or blue casing, the new versions will now feature these same color schemes, only swapped:


The bundles will still be available for $109.99 CAD with Mario Kart 7 pre-installed in specially-marked packages.

Now, you might be asking yourself “Why? How could this have happened?” As luck would have it, cameras at Nintendo 2DS HQ caught the following events as they transpired:

Poor Luigi. This is probably why you’re usually Player 2, but at least things worked out for you (this time).

David Oxford is a freelance writer of many varied interests. If you’re interested in hiring him, please drop him a line at david.oxford (at)


Nintendo of Canada has announced that beginning Friday, July 15th, they are bringing the price of their kid-friendly Nintendo 2DS handheld down to a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $109.99, down $20 from its previous price point of $129.99.

“Nintendo 2DS is the best value available for a portable dedicated gaming system and is great for gaming on the go,” said Nintendo of Canada’s General Manager and Senior Director, Pierre-Paul Trepanier, in a press release. “The system has a library full of high-quality games for purchase, some in our Nintendo Selects category for less than $30 each, featuring Mario, Donkey Kong, Yoshi and Zelda.”

Nintendo considers this version of the handheld a perfect entry point into their library of portable games, and are including Mario Kart 7 as a free download with the purchase of the system (though some may have other games available, such as Yo-Kai Watch). What’s more, with the enormous success of Pokémon Go on mobile devices, they’re keen to remind everyone that “the Nintendo 2DS plays all the best Pokémon games from the last 20 years — from the Pokémon Red Version, Pokémon Blue Version, and Pokémon Yellow Version: Special Pikachu Edition originals to the future-classics Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon, out November 18th.”

David Oxford is a freelance writer of many varied interests. If you’re interested in hiring him, please drop him a line at david.oxford (at)


An old great, some new greats… so much this week is looking great!

Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars for Wii U – The original — and still hailed by many as the best — Mario role playing game, it’s business as usual in the Mushroom Kingdom until a mysterious giant sword comes crashing down on Bowser’s Keep, flinging the king of the Koopas, Princess Peach, and Mario across the four corners of the kingdom. It’s up to you (as Mario, of course) to reunite the group against a common foe and expel this threat to the land!

Runbow – Demo Version for Wii U – Unsure if this multicolored race to the finish is right for you? Try out this demo version — maybe then you’ll be interested in the Nintendo 3DS version, too!


Prism Pets for Wii U – Craft new colors by sliding some of your favorite animals around the field, but don’t fill it up!


INVANOID for Wii U – Blast the alien bad guys for as long as you can, then compare your score with others on Miiverse to see who’s the best!

LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens for Wii U and Nintendo 3DS – Not too long ago, in a theatre that was probably pretty close by, Star Wars triumphantly returned to the big screen, and now the LEGO version is back to continue their take on the story.

BOXBOXBOY! for Nintendo 3DS – Qbby is back with a new power that allows him to create double the number of boxes he could before! But will it be enough for you and him to survive all of the treacherous trap-laden levels?

Monster Hunter Generations – Special Demo for Nintendo 3DS – The next generation of Capcom’s smash hit franchise is on its way July 15th, but until then, you can find out if it’s right for you by taking on the three quests available in this special demo. What’s more, if a friend has the demo as well, you can both team up to hunt some monsters down!

The Battle Cats POP! for Nintendo 3DS – Tower defense gets weird as you recruit a variety of bizarre cats to take out your unusual enemies and claim treasure across the world!

Zero Escape: Zero Time Dilemma for Nintendo 3DS – Your humanity is on the line as you’re forced to make difficult decisions in order to earn your freedom. You may escape, but will you be the same person you were when you went in? The choice is yours.

7th Dragon III Code: VFD – Demo Version for Nintendo 3DS – Unsure if you want to fight dragons on July 12th? Find out now with this free demo!


Hyrule Warriors Legends – Link’s Awakening Pack – Marin from The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening soars into battle, and along with her comes a new weapon for Linkle, a new Adventure Mode map, 16 My Fairy Costume pieces, and two new Challenge Battles.

Minecraft: Story Mode, A Telltale Game Series – Episodes 2-5 are now available for purchase, as is a Season Pass which includes access to all the remaining episodes.


Nintendo Badge ArcadeRhythm is the name of the game this week, as Rhythm Heaven Megamix machines are being rolled out from June 30th to July 3rd. Plus, free plays will be offered from July 4th through July 6th!

Nintendo eShop Sales (Taken directly from Nintendo’s press release; prices in USD)

For more information, screens, and videos for each of this week’s releases, click on the corresponding links above.

David Oxford is a freelance writer of many varied interests. If you’re interested in hiring him, please drop him a line at david.oxford (at)


Nintendo of Canada is bringing the fun this summer with the Nintendo 3DS and a whole lineup of games to try out as the Play Nintendo: Kids Summer Tour crosses the country starting in July and running until early September. There will also be play zones, meet ‘n greets with your favorite characters, and giveaways (while supplies last).

Games on tap will include the brand-spanking new Kirby: Planet Robobot (see my glowing review here), Pokémon Omega Ruby and Pokémon Alpha Sapphire, Mario Kart 7, Yo-Kai Watch, Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS, Super Mario 3D Land, Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D, Yoshi’s New Island, and New Super Mario Bros. 2.

Here’s how the tour breaks down when Nintendo comes to town:

Quebec Tour Dates:

  • Jul 1 @3pm-10pm: Dorval- Canada Day Celebration
  • Jul 2 @12pm-9pm: Montreal-Midway Fun, Place Bourassa*
  • Jul 3 @12pm-9pm: Montreal-Midway Fun, Place Bourassa*
  • Jul 9 @2pm-6pm: Montreal- Fete Des Enfants*
  • Jul 10 @2pm-6pm: Montreal- Fete Des Enfants*
  • Jul 15 @12pm-9pm: Montreal- Amusements Spectaculaires, TOHU Cité des Arts du Cirque
  • Jul 16 @12pm-9pm: Montreal- Amusements Spectaculaires, TOHU Cité des Arts du Cirque
  • Jul 17 @12pm-9pm: Montreal- Amusements Spectaculaires, TOHU Cité des Arts du Cirque
  • Jul 22 @11am-9pm: Granby- Mascot Festival
  • Jul 23 @10am-5pm: Granby- Mascot Festival
  • Jul 24 @10am-5pm: Granby- Mascot Festival

Ontario Tour Dates:

  • Jul 29 @11:30am-5pm: Toronto- Centreville Theme Park*
  • Jul 30 @11:30am-8pm: Toronto- Centreville Theme Park*
  • Jul 31 @10:30am-8pm: Toronto- Centreville Theme Park*
  • Aug 5 @12pm-6pm: Port Hope- OnRoute service centre
  • Aug 6 @8am-2pm: Port Hope- OnRoute service centre
  • Aug 7 @9am-3pm: Port Hope- OnRoute service centre
  • Aug 13 @11am-10:30pm: Toronto- York-Eglinton International Street Festival
  • Aug 14 @11am-7pm: Toronto- York-Eglinton International Street Festival
  • Aug 19 @7pm-11pm: Mississauga- Port Credit Buskerfest
  • Aug 20 @1pm-11pm: Mississauga- Port Credit Buskerfest
  • Aug 21 @1pm-7pm: Mississauga- Port Credit Buskerfest

BC Tour Dates:

  • Aug 31 @11am-11:30pm: Vancouver- PNE*
  • Sep 1 @11am-11:30pm: Vancouver- PNE*
  • Sep 2 @11am-11:30pm: Vancouver- PNE*
  • Sep 3 @11am-11:30pm: Vancouver- PNE*
  • Sep 4 @11am-11:30pm: Vancouver- PNE*
  • Sep 5 @11am-11:30pm: Vancouver- PNE*

The above comes from Nintendo of Canada’s website, where you can check back for the latest up-to-the-minute changes that may occur, including the possibility of more events.

Also, do note that the events marked with an asterisk have entry fees applicable, so be sure you’re ready to pay your way at the door.

David Oxford is a freelance writer of many varied interests. If you’re interested in hiring him, please drop him a line at david.oxford (at)